A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

A lot of smoke can be seen from a boat fire on the Crofton waterfront Thursday evening. (Facebook photo)

Man’s retirement plan vanishes in flames on the Crofton waterfront

Firefighters douse burning boat to prevent spread to nearby vessels as blaze delays Saltspring ferry

Countless hours of work by Gary (The Duck) Drake literally went up in smoke and flames on the Crofton waterfront last Thursday night.

Drake, getting ready to retire from the Crofton Paper Excellence Catalyst pulp mill in about a month, saw a boat he’d been working on destroyed. It’s not known what caused the fire, but some sort of electrical problem is suspected.

Crofton and Chemainus Fire Departments responded to the call.

“Quick response limited damage to other nearby vessels,” noted Martin Drakeley, manager of fire and bylaw services for the Municipality of North Cowichan. “Fire was extinguished rapidly and handed over to the wharfinger.”

Wes Bissett of Chemainus, a longtime friend and co-worker of Drake’s, has started a GoFundMe page for him and hopes it will raise $5,000.

“I’ve known Gary the whole time I’ve been at the mill,” Bissett said. “He bought the boat and was living on the boat for a while. His grand plan was he was going to sell the boat and use the money to fund his retirement road trip and to pick up another boat from Alberta on his way home. That kind of went up in flames for him.”

Drake had been utilizing Bissett’s place to work on the boat and store it before putting it in the water. It had been there less than 24 hours when the fire happened.

“I feel bad for the guy, the last three months and the legwork he put in,” remarked Bissett.

The fire caused about a half hour delay to the Crofton-Vesuvius (Salt Spring Island) ferry sailings the rest of the day.

“To add some salt to that wound, the boat reached its age where agencies would no longer issue insurance so it falls entirely in his lap,” noted Bissett.

The GoFundMe page is listed under Duck’s Luck: That Ship Has Sailed.

“We started this page in hopes of taking away at least some of the sting this absolute catastrophe has caused, so we’re hoping anyone/everyone can donate whatever they can to help make his well-earned transition into retirement at least a little less stressful than it has become,” added Bissett.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Boating

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Charred shell is all that remains of Gary Drake’s boat. (Facebook photo)

Just Posted

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

According to Statistics Canada, the unemployment rate in Greater Victoria rose to 5.7 per cent in March 2021, an increase of 0.8 per cent compared to February 2021. But the local unemployment rate remains the among the lowest in Canada. (Black Press Media File)
Greater Victoria’s unemployment rate rises to 5.7 per cent

The increase marks a reversal from recent months, but local economy among the strongest in Canada

Saanich police officers were one group of dozens that submitted dance clips to the Greater Victoria Festival Society, to help create the Dance Across Victoria video montage. (Youtube/Screenshot)
WATCH: Saanich police, Victoria mayor bust some moves in new Dance Across Victoria video

Montage features submitted dance clips from across Greater Victoria

Saanich’s Malia Brodie competed in the Vancouver qualifiers for the 2020 National Championships. (Photo by BC Sport Karate Snaps)
PHOTOS: Saanich teen awarded $1,800 Karate Canada bursary to pursue officiant certification

Malia Brodie, 18, has black belt, nearly 15 years experience in karate

Former Oak Bay High Grade 12 student Brandon Kip plays the $100,000 Steinway piano in the Dave Dunnet Theatre. (Black Press Media file photo)
Oak Bay High Alumni Association passes torch to new president

The association has given back more than $70,000 in its 16 years

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Rules against RV living hard on Island residents caught in housing crunch

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Most Read